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PICTURES ADDED: Liverpool Football Club Reserves sign off in style
Damien Plessis celebrates his goal for Liverpool Reserves against Newcastle United. Pictures by Dave Gillespie
Liverpool Reserves 5 Newcastle United Reserves 1
A LIVERPOOL Reserves side containing David Ngog, Nabil El Zhar and Philipp Degen ensured they would not finish bottom of the league as the Reds brought the curtain down on their second and probably final season at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Three goals in the opening 26 minutes, one of them from France under 21 international Ngog, made sure Gary Ablett’s men signed off a rollercoaster campaign in style.
With no new deal in place, the Reds are understood to be considering pastures new for next season – with Tranmere Rovers and Chester being rumoured as contenders to host their home games - although Gary Ablett said after tonight's match that negotiations are continuing with Warrington Wolves.
If tonight was the end for Liverpool in Warrington, the crowd of 430 witnessed one of Liverpool’s better performances of the year on the final night of their campaign.
From a Warrington fan’s perspective, it has been good having a higher standard of football on the doorstep, especially the title-winning 2007/08 campaign which was ignited with a Harry Kewell strike in an opening home win against, ironically, Newcastle.
And the impressive football on the pitch was matched with four-figure attendances off it, including bumper crowds of 6,500 and 10,500 against Everton and Manchester United respectively.
But this season has failed to live up to those championship-winning heights, on the pitch and in terms of attendances.
Liverpool have battled to avoid finishing bottom for the majority of 2009, finally achieving that goal with tonight’s convincing success against the Magpies.
Ablett’s men made their intentions clear from the start and were ahead after only 11 minutes.
Ngog’s rasping 20-yard drive was touched on to the post and over the byline by Newcastle keeper Ole Soderberg but he could do nothing to keep out Mikel San Jose Dominguez’s powerful header from the resultant corner.
Ngog made it 2-0 just four minutes later, latching on to a perfect ball over the top and slotting past Soderberg from the edge of the area.
Gerard Bruna rattled the post with a stinging free kick that swung around a four-man wall in the 20th minute and Ngog had a second goal ruled out for offside three minutes later.
It was clear the Reds’ third goal wasn’t far away and it came from French midfielder Damien Plessis in the 26th minute.
Another Bruna free kick had Newcastle in trouble again, Plessis making them pay for their infringements when he stuck out a toe to lift the ball over Soderberg.
It stayed 3-0 until the final 10 minutes of the second half, by which time Ngog, El Zhar and Degen had all been replaced – probably to be ready for first-team contention in the Premier League run-in.
But one of the substitutes then stole the show, with a wonderful curling free kick from Daniel Pacheco making it 4-0 and he slid home a pass from Nikola Saric to make it 5-1, with Frank Danquah netting a consolation for Newcastle in between.
Liverpool: Dean Bouzanis, Philipp Degen, Mikel San Jose Dominguez, Daniel Ayala, Damien Plessis, Nabil El Zhar, Victor Palsson, David Ngog, Andras Simon, Gerardo Bruna. Subs used: Daniel Pacheco, Emmanuel Gomis Mendy, Nikola Saric. Subs not used: Martin Hansen, Vincent Weijl.